Album Reviews

Steve Cradock – The Kundalini Target

(Mosley Shoals) UK release date: 9 February 2009

Steve Cradock - The Kundalini Target Evidently my black icy heart has plummeted to new depths in my loveless soul, but I’m questioning whether the musical world has started 2009 by going completely insane, smashing ‘taste’ through the nearest available window, and doing golden water on the pleading, beaten and bloody body of ‘talent’.

Such is the discrepancy between the praise garnered by The Kundalini Target and what in reality is one of the worst records I’ve ever heard that I wonder if certain donators of plaudits are still hungover from a particularly indulgent New Year, and have just dispatched an emergency sound bite, or whatever they could muster, to make the bad noise go away.

Steve Cradock was the guitarist in Ocean Colour Scene. The Kundalini Target is his debut solo album. Liam Gallagher has cited Cradock as a modern day George Harrison, while Paul Weller (Cradock has played second guitar for him for an age) has labelled Cradock’s debut a collection of “great songs of humanity”. What does that even mean?

If this is the sound of humanity then I’m a marshmallow. But let’s illustrate the good points rather than get in a tizzy about the bad, shall we? With that intent, the delicate, pretty guitar riff that opens On And On and the enchanting 12 string backing of Your Point Your Picture are well worth a listen. That, however, is that. What encircles those single moments of goodness is a raging tornado of soulless, talentless, offensive, clichéd, maddeningly pretentious, painfully middle-of-the-road guff. Note to Cradock: Overdubbing a bad voice with more layers of that same voice is not going to sound good. Has no-one told this man he can’t sing?

There’s been much written about indie bands sounding twee of late. Be that right or wrong, Cradock raises the twee bar to a hitherto unreachable height with The Apple. The chant of a Beatles-y “love, love, love”, where Cradock’s wife guests on vocals – how sweet – does a neat job of teasing blood to boiling point, while Running Away and On And On (and yes, it does go on and on) and It’s Transcendental (where Cradock humbly decrees to his audience: “Don’t let another day pass you by”) all have over-ambitious vocal melodies that best evidence Cradock’s vocal ineptitude.

With the exception of a Weller contribution on Your Point Your Picture, Cradock reportedly plays all instruments on The Kundalini Target. This indicates one of two things. Either no one wanted to collaborate with Cradock, or he has an over-inflated opinion of his musical abilities. It’s probably down to a profound musical vision, a semi-spiritual musical calling of some sort. If so, I stand corrected.

The album concludes with a ‘mash-up’ of all of the songs featured on The Kundalini Target, like the Mystery Jets did at the beginning of Making Dens. Very clever. But it’s still awful.

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More on Steve Cradock
Ocean Colour Scene’s Steve Cradock: “You can’t really narrow down the future, can you?” – Interview
Steve Cradock – The Kundalini Target